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Kilruane MacDonaghs Hurling club is named after Thomas MacDonagh, one of the leaders of the 1916 rising.
Thomas MacDonagh was born in Cloughjordan, County Tipperary in 1878. His father was from Roscommon and his mother from Dublin.

Cloughjordan Parish Teams

The Ninety Eights 1798-1905 Crowle 1922
Ardcroney 1886 Nenagh De Wets 1928
Rapla and Congor 1886 Ballycapple 1934
Cloughjordan 1889 Knocknacree 1934
Bantis 1900 Kyle Rovers 1936
Lahorna De Wets 1901 Kilruane MacDonaghs 1937
Loughane 1904 Glenahilty De Wets 1942
Beahamore 1905 The Gorry Rangers 1948
Kilruane 1915 St. Ruadhans 1952
Mac Donaghs (Glenahilty)


(for minor hurling purposes)

* The Lahorna De Wets of 1913 were known as the blues because they wore sky blus jerseys
* Nenagh-De Wets of 1928 were a combination of the parishes of Nenagh and Cloughjordan for Senior hurling purposes
* The Glenahilty De Wets of 1942 were a minor hurling team.
* The Kilruane-Moneygall team of 1955 was a combination of the two parishes for minor hurling purposes

In 1959 the u/21 championship came into being, having been proposed by a Lorrha delegate.
In this same year Gerry McCarthy was selected at No. 15 for the Tipperary senior hurling team to play Cork, in the first round of the Munster hurling championship.

The Early Years

There is a tradition in the parish that a great team of hurlers flourished in the area long before the G.A.A.was founded in 1884. We are told that during the 1798 rebellion there was much activity among the local people and when the cause was finally lost those hurlers called themselves the 98's to commerate their heroes of 1798. This team is reputed to have lasted up to about 1890.

A type of football was played by the ordinary small farmers and labourers of Rapla, Kilruane and Moanfin in the 1870's.
There were similar teams in Kyle, Killeen and Carrigatoher and Challenge matches were often arranged between them. "If the ball went out over a ditch, the players followed it and continued the game in the next field" says a report of such an encounter.

The Foundation of the G.A.A. in 1884

The G.A.A. was founded in 1884 in Thurles by Maurice Davin and Michael Cusack among others, to bring the Irish games under a governing body.
In the early years the rules were few and simple.

* Twenty-one a side in hurling and football
* The game was of one and a half hours duration, with a change of ends at half time.
* Points counted only if no goals were scored, or if both teams scored an equal number of goals.

The winning of a championship was of course important, but there was much more to be got from being victorious in a big tournament. The honour of the little village was at stake when neighbouring teams clashed. To beat a well-known team from another area or county, in a tournament, was most desirable and in many cases was more sought after than winning a championship.

Three All-Ireland Medals were won by Cloughjordan men in the early years of the G.A.A. James Dwyer was on the Tipperary (Thurles) side that won the first All-Ireland in 1887 and William Spain was the first dual All-Ireland medalist in the history of the G.A.A. winning a football medal with the Limerick team of 1887 and a hurling medal with Dublin in 1889.

Between 1888 and 1894 a few new rules were introduced

* The number of players on hurling and football teams was reduced from twenty one to seventeen in 1892.
* County teams in future could be picked from the entire county.
* One goal would equal five points

The following locations have been pointed out as places where handball was played in Cloughjordan parish from about 1885 to 1960.

* Lahorna
* The Middle Walk
* Bantiss
* Laughane
* Modreeney
* Cloughjordan village
* Silverstream

Lahorna DeWets

"Unconquered yet, are you De Wet
O may you never vary,
The magic name that gained such fame
For gallant Tipperary"

By 1900 hurling was played in every area of Cloughjordan parish. There were teams in Rapla, Ardcroney, Congor, Cloughjordan, kilruane, Bantiss, Glenahilty, Kyle, Modreeney and Loughane. It was decided that the time had come to enter a team from the Lahorna area, for the newly formed North Tipperary hurling championship.

A meeting was held in late 1900 in Balinamurra; its not certain in whose home it was held, where the name Lahorna De Wets was chosen in memory of the South African general De Wet, who had given the British forces such a rough time in the Boer war.
The first chairman of De Wets was George O'Leary of Beechwood. The secretary was Michael Gaynor of Rapla and the captain of the team was Jack Dwan of Kilruane. Tom Ryan had no official position in the club at this time, but he was known to everyone as "The Boss". His word was law.
De Wets usually trained in a field owned by Michael Flannery, near George O'Learys House.

The first Senior Hurling Championship of North Tipperary
Round One
Roscrea 5-7 Nenagh 1-1
Kilbarron 0-2 Balingarry 0-0
De Wets -awarded game Carney-disqualified *

Roscrea 1-4 Kilbarron 1-2
De Wets Bye

De Wets 0-4 Roscrea 0-3 **

*In the round one game between De Wets and Carney, Carney were leading by 2-0 to 1-2 when they walked off the field. The game was awarded to De Wets.

**After De Wets beat them in the North final, Roscrea lodged an objection and a replay was fixed for Templemore which Roscrea won. De Wets objected on the grounds that Roscrea fielded some players from Offaly, and they were awarded the match.

De Wets were set to play the county Final against Ballytarsna of the South.Out of the blue a De Wets spokesman declared that they had no interest in playing the county final. They had set out to win in North Tipperary and they had achieved their objective.
In view of what happened in the 1902 county final it is probable that De Wets would have won the 1901 final, if they contested it.

The 1902 Championship
1902 proved to be De Wets greatest year. In round one of the Championship De Wets beat Nenagh at Knigh by 6-10 to 1-1.
In most cases the losers objected to the winners after every game. The delays by these objections held up many fixtures until late in the year. The final was between De Wets and knigh which De wets won by 2-5 t0 1-2.
Carrick were nominated in the South to play De Wets in the county final. This match was played in Thurles and was won by De Wets on the score 7-10 to 1-2.

Lahorna De Wets - County Champions 1902

Front row:L to R: James O'Meara(Moanfin), Tom Ryan(the Lough), Jack Dwan(Capt.).
Middle row:Mick McLoughney(Lahorna), Tom Ryan Beechwood), Tim O'Connor, Pat Williams(Cloughjordan), Tim Carr(Ballymackey), Martin Darcy (Kyle).
Back row:Jim Darcy(Bantiss), John O'Meara(Carriganagh), M. Kennedy (Killyloughnane), Ml. Conway(Beechwood), Dan Ryan(Soolmoy), Rody Nolan(Cunnahurt), Paddy Behan (Ballinweir).
Officials:Michael Gaynor(Hon. Sec.), George O'Leary(Chairman)
Missing from photo: Denis Whelan.

The 1903 Championship

Twelve teams entered the North Tipperary Hurling Championship of 1903. De Wets were drawn against Portroe in the first round and won by 6-11 to 0-1. In round two De Wets beat Ballycommon by twelve points to one. In the Semi-final Templederry were overcome on a scoreline of 0-5 to 0-2. February 14th 1904 was the date set for the North Final. Tomevara were beaten by 3-8 to 1-0.

The county final was never played. It is not known exactly why, but Two-Mile-Borris were awarded the game.

The "Nenagh News" tells us that Cork beat Tipperary in the munster Senior hurling final by 4-6 to 1-10, having led by 3-5 to 0-2 at half time.The Tipperary team was a De Wets selection and included most of the members of the 1902 county championship winning side.

The 1904 Championship
The 1904 championship had a very late start. De Wets met Borrisokane in the first round on 20 November in Ballycommon. De Wets were victorious by 4-13 to 1-1. De Wets beat Lorrha in the semi-final on a scoreline of 5-11 to 0-3.
The North final was played in Kilbarron where De Wets beat Ballycommon by 5-8 to 1-4.
The county final
The county final was between De Wets and a combination of players from Thurles, Two-Mile-Borris and Moycarkey. In the end the combinatoion emerged victorious by 5-8 to 3-9. This great game was witnessed by several Thousand people, and De Wets lost nothing in defeat.
In the Munster hurling final of 1904, Cork beat Tipperary by 3-10 to 3-4. Con Brewer was the only De Wets player on the team.

The 1905 Championship
The draw for the 1905 championship was as follows:
Templederry v Nenagh
Ballinahinch v Kilbarron
Lorrha v Toomevara
Youghal v Nenagh Wolfe Tones
Lahorna De Wets v Roscrea
Terryglass v Ballycommon
Ballina v Ballingarry

The last four left were De wets v Ballina and Lorrha v Templederry. Owing to objections and counter objections, tournament games and bad weather, the semi-finals were not played until 1906.
Ballina surprisingly beat De Wets in the first semi-final. De wets lodged an objection and the game was fixed to be replayed. Ballina never turned up for the replay and De Wets were awarded the match. De Wets expected an easy match against Lorrha whom they had beaten well the previous year, but were surprisingly overcome by 3-5 to 2-3 in a hard fought game.
For the first time in five years De Wets had failed to win the North Championship.

In February 1906 the Nenagh club held a tournament in which seventeen medals were offered to the winners. The teams involved were:
De Wets v Tulla(Clare)
Castleconnel(Limerick) v Coolderry(Offaly)

De Wets overcame Tulla by 2-10 to 2-6 and faced Castleconnel in the final. The Limerick men were firm favourites for the game. The "Nenagh News" had this to say about the game:
"Lovers of this grand old Irish pastime were treated to one of the finest exhibitions of hurling ever witnessed in Nenagh town."
Result: De Wets 5-10 Castleconnel 2-6.

In the 1906 North championship De Wets were drawn against Nenagh Wolfe Tones who they beat 4-15 to 0-1. As in the previous year Lorrha and De Wets met in the north final. De Wets were still sore after being "robbed" by Lorrha the previous year. They trained hard for the final and made no mistakes this time winning by 4-6 to 1-4.

The county final was played in Nenagh and once again the contestants were Thurles and De Wets. Again the Kilruane mens bogey team were Thurles Blues, who won by 4-11 to 3-6.

It is impossible to follow the games that were played in 1907. De Wets were declared the winners of the Championship and went on to meet Thurles once more in the county final. Yet again Thurles proved too good and won by 3-13 to 1-6.
Many people were saying that De Wets were getting old and coming to the end of their reign. In the following years this turned out to be true.

End of the De Wets - 1908 to 1912
Once again De Wets came out on top in the North Tipp. championship. The county semi-final was fixed for Roscrea, and the opponents were, once again, Thurles. For some unknown reason the De Wets were very late onto the Roscrea field. They looked like men in a trance and played as such. The second half was nearly over and Thurles were leading by 5-13 to 1-4 when Lahorna De Wets walked off the field. It was surely their darkest hour and one from which they never recovered.

For 1909 and 1910 no team was entered from the parish. The De Wets went into hibernation.

In 1911 the hurlers of Lahorna were getting fed up with themselves and their long rest, so they decided to make one last desperate stand. They entered a team for the 1911 championship of North Tipperary.
In their very first match they beat Youghal by 6-0 to 2-1. The next game was the North Semi-final against Ballinahinch. De Wets won by 4-5 t0 2-1. In the North final Toomevara were to be the opposition. This was claimed to be the final of the old De Wets versus the new toomevara team, champions in 1910. Toomevara won the game by 7-0 to 3-0. The era of the De Wets had ended; the era of Toomevara had begun.

In 1913 Cloughjordan(De Wets) won the county junior final beating old rivals Thurles in the county final by 6-2 to 1-2.

Troubled Times

The 1916 Rising
The rebellion broke out in Easter 1916, resulting in most of the leaders being executed in Dublin. Those leaders included Thomas MacDonagh who was born in cloughjordan on February 1, 1878, the son of two school teachers in the village.
This is the proclamation of the Irish Republic, which he signed. Click on it to view the full proclamation.

Enter MacDonaghs(Glenahilty)
1918 is a historic year in Cloughjordans GAA history, because for the first time, the name MacDonagh appears in GAA circles in Ormond. The official parish team was MacDonaghs and some people called it Glenahilty.

The Glenahilty MacDonaghs team was drawn mainly from the Glenahilty, Kyle and Bantiss areas of Cloughjordan parish, and was the first to adopt the name MacDonagh.
MacDonaghs reached the North final in 1918 but were beaten by a Toomevara selection.

The green, white and gold of the Glenahilty MacDonaghs remained the official of all teams in our parish until 1959 or 1960. In that year the parish juvenile team beat Grange in the county final. They wore for the first time a new set of black and white jerseys.

Black and white are now the official registered colours of all teams in the club.

The years 1919 to 1923 were troubled years in Tipperary, and the GAA suffered. Many players were in jail, others were on the run and were not available to play hurling and football matches. Roads were often blocked with fallen trees, bridges were blown up. No championship games were played in North Tipperary in 1921.

Bloody Sunday
Sunday, 20 November 1920 is known as Bloody Sunday. Fifteen people were killed and about sixty injured when British forces fired on the crowds in Croke pard, during a football match between Dublin and Tipperary. This was a reprisal for the killing of fourteen British secret-service spies in Dublin that morning.

The Irish Free State came into being in December, 1921. Within a few months, civil war broke out between those who accepted the treaty and those who did not accept it. There was no time for hurling or football. It is interesting to note that while the Civil war split the country in two, it did not split the GAA.

Kilruane MacDonaghs is Born

Either Cloughjordan or De Wets entered Senior hurling teams from 1924 to 1927. It is impossible to say for certain which was the official parish senior hurling team. Some reporters call it Cloughjordan, while other call it De Wets or Kilruane.
In 1927 de Wets joined with Nenagh for the senior hurling championship. The amalgamation was continued in 1928 where Nenagh De Wets were beaten by Toomevara in the North final.
The triple crown

1930 was the greatest year in the history of Tipperary hurling. A new term was coined to describe their achievements - they won the "triple crown" of hurling i.e. the Senior, Junior nad Minor All-Irelands.
Toomevara were senior hurling champions once more in 1930.

Dan Breen
Dan breen came back from America, where he had been since the civil war, and presented a cup for the winners of the senior hurling championship of County Tipperary. It is known as "The Dan Breen cup". Toomevara were the first winners of this cup in 1931. By then the greyhounds had almost run their course.

1933 was the year that signalled the end of the Toomevara greyhounds, and the beginning of camogie playing in North Tipperary. In 1934 Kilruane had a good intermediate team, and hoped to win the North championship, but were beaten by Newport in the North Final.

This year was also the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the GAA. Annual congress was held in Thurles town, and a commerative stamp was issued. It was in this year also that Seamus Gardiner, chairman of the North Tipperary board suggested that the bust of Thomas MacDoangh should be put on championship medals in the North division. This suggestion was carried out and remains to this day.

The parish rule became law in 1934, which brought up a lot of confusion involving the interpretation of this rule.

In the 1935 North championship, which was played on a league basis, Kilruane qualified for a Final tie against Newport. Kilruanes forwards squandered many chances in the first half and ultimately paid the price, losing by 6-4 to 5-4.

Kilruane MacDonaghs
In 1935 and 1936 a serious effort got underway to unite all the junior teams in Cloughjordan parish, to form a worthwhile senior club. A number of meetings were arranged, many ending in widescale disagreement between the parties involved.

Finally the name Thomas MacDonagh was used as the unifying force. By 1937 most of the teams in Cloughjordan parish came in under the banner of the 1916 leader, and are known today as Kilruane MacDonaghs.

There have been a few small exceptions -(a)Kyle before 1950 and (b)Congor about 1940. But it has to be stated that players from all areas of the parish are proud to don a MacDonaghs jersey. This club has tried to emulate the feats of the famous De Wets and have done so with marked success.

North Championship Success

In 1940 Kilruane MacDonaghs won the North Tipperary championship. This was the first senior championship won by the club since De Wets were champions back in 1908.

Early in May Kilruane beat Nenagh, who were runners-up in 1939. On 23 June Roscrea and Kilruane clashed in the second round in Borrisokane. No one gave the MacDonaghs a chance. Roscrea were the holders and looked unbeatable. Against the odds, the holders were beaten and the Cloughjordan men went on to meet Borrosoleigh in the semi-final in Nenagh
With tem minutes remaining in this game Borrisoleigh had the upper hand, but MacDonaghs extra speed and training stood to them in those last few minutes. At the final whistle Kilruane had won by 3-5 to 3-3.

Borrisokane was the venue for the north final meeting against Kildangan on 11 August, 1940. Kildangan were playing with a slight breeze in the first half and went in at the break nine points ahead. It looked hopeless for the Kilruane men, yet they took the field for the second half in a determined mood and played like men inspired. The excitement grew as kilruane drew near, levelled and finally managed to take the lead with a point from Johnny Dunne proving to be the winner. The final score was Kilruane 2-5, Kildangan 3-1.

Jack O'Meara received the Murphy cup from Thomas Malone, chairman of the board. It was later commented in "The Nenagh Guardian" that "What's bred in the marrow comes out in the bone". This was a reference to the fact that so many of the team were related to their predecessors, the De Wets. It was a throwback to the old days in Lahorna.

Kilruanes team was:
Jack Dwan, D. Devans, J. Rohan, T. Williams, M. O'Meara, J. O'Meara(Capt.), Paddy Peters, Jim Waters, Jack Kennedy, J. Dunne, Des Dwan, M. Heffernan, M. O'Meara, R. Skehan, Tom Darcy. Sub: jim Spain for Bevans.

The Semi-final of the County Championship was played in Templemore against Cashel. Kilruane came very near to victory but were pipped on a scoreline of 3-4 to 3-2.

Again in 1941 Kilruane reached the North final. This time the oppnents were Roscrea. Kilruane opened an early lead and went in at half time ahead by five points. But Roscrea did to Kilruane what the MacDonaghs had done to Kildangan the previous year. The final score at the end of a thrilling game was Roscrea 6-3 kilruane 2-7.

In 1942 Kilruane found themselves in the North semi-final after victories over Shannon Rovers and Borrisokane. Kildangan were the opposition on a day of heavy showers, and overcame Kilruane with surprising ease. One story goes that some of the kilruane team made their way to the pubs in Borrisokane, assuming that the game would be called off because of the terrible conditions. Maybe so?

Kilruane suffered an early defeat in 1943, being beaten by Borrisoleigh by 5-5 to 2-5 on 30th May and suffering a second defeat at the hands of Roscrea a few weeks later.

North Champions again
With victories over Borrisoleigh, Roscrea and Moneygall, Kilruane qualified for a North final appearance against Durrha. This game was played in a downpour in Nenagh. MacDonaghs superiority in the second half won the day. The final score was 4-7 to 2-3.
After easily beating Eire Og Annacarty in the county final Kilruane were set up for a county final appearance against Thurles Sarsfields. This was Kilruane's first county final appearance in thirty seven years. It should have been a great game, but the opposite turned out to be true. The game was abandoned twelve minutes from the end after what were called disgraceful scenes. The game was never replayed.

In 1947 Kilruane came through their group games, to advance to a North final meeting with Borrisoleigh. The game was fixed for Nenagh, and Borrisoleigh emerged victorious after a hard fought battle.The final score was 4-3 to 2-6. Kilruane were not to appear in another North Final until 1953, where they qualified to meet Borrisoleigh after a semi-final victory over Portroe. At the end of the hour, Borrisoleigh had won their fourth North final in a row, after a hard fought encounter.

Kilruane MacDonaghs second team appeared in the North Tipperary junior hurling final, played at MacDonagh park, nenagh on October 27th 1954. The pitch was waterlogged, a strong wind blew, and it was, all-in-all an unpleasent day for hurling. Yet, when Kilcommon and kilruane lined up for the throw in, there was a big crowd present. Neutrals were hoping for a Kilcommon win, but this was not to be. In fact it was a one-sided affair from the beginning, Kilruane winning by 8-6 to 1-2.

Apart from another North Junior Championship victory in 1956, Kilruane went through a lull in terms of trophies won. They did qualify for a North senior final in 1958 after victories over Borrisokane, Moneygall and Roscrea, but were defeated by a strong Toomevara team in the final.